Days of Yore
as recounted by

Bill Day


Day's of yore
At the turn of the century, the area bounded by the rear property lines of the homes on west Kings highway, North drive, Crystal Lake avenue, and Estaugh avenue was Mr Clarence Hinchman's farm.

Other members of the Hinchman family also owned parcels of this area.  A carriage lane started from off the west Main street in the Estaugh avenue section and ran over to another lane that is now West End avenue and the two lanes becoming one continued to the Hinchman farmhouse which in later years became the Loranne House on Crystal Lake avenue.

Near Estaugh avenue were a number of bubbling springs that were the source of the creek.  Mr. Hinchman built a dam across the stream, and erected a garage-sized mill with a water wheel.  He also built a little bridge across the creek.  This stream continued on through Redman's Woods, which was a playground for all the kids in town.  Well remembered is the "Billy Penn" tree.  This tall tree stood in the woods back of Mt Vernon avenue and if it was climbed "Billy" could be seen over in Philadelphia atop City Hall.  A group purchased land out toward North drive from Mr Hinchman and built a golf course and clubhouse.  The club house was near the site of Mr Cope Somers' residence.  On there way out to the course to caddy, the boys could raid the big blackberry patch that was where Avondale avenue is now.

Until a blight ruined the trees one year, edible chestnuts were abundant in the Woods.  The burrs were knocked off the trees by throwing up a short broomstick with a railroad spike tied on one end.  Chestnuts roasted over a fire were delicious.

It is difficult to envision Haddonfield with a farm within its limits, but there it was.  If the stream's presence is questioned, a ride to the three hundred block of Elm avenue will enable one to see it as it emerges from a pipe under the street and continues on its merry way across the field to Crystal Lake.  Thanks go to Charley Birney for his childhood memories. Homepage
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